Still Standing

Still Standing

Ephesians 6:13 (NKJV) Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

There are some things in life that just take time. The inescapable lapse of immediate gratification to absolute fulfillment have a prescribed wait time that is insurmountable. The compromise of convenience, comfort and control are conflicted in the long periods of divine intervention as God grows, develops and matures His Promise, melts a hard heart, finds a lost soul, heals a sick body, pressing our patience and producing it from within us to change outcomes around us. It takes time. Say, that with me today, it’s just going to take some time.

There are some things in my life – situations and unfavorable conditions – that I am waiting on the Lord to do His Work. Promises yet to be fulfilled. Dreams not yet a reality. Relationships in need of mending. Processes yet undone. What do you do when you have sought the Lord, prayed, and believed – and nothing has happened? You wait. You trust. You stand. The word “withstand” or antihistemi (Strong’s #436) means anti – “against” and histemi – “to cause to stand”. It suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, and standing your ground. Compare it to the commonly used word “antihistamine” which puts a block on histamines. A histamine attacks cells in the body causing the cells to swell and leak fluids. This can cause itching, runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes. An antihistamine blocks the histamines relieving the symptoms. Antihistemi tells me that with the authority and spiritual weapons granted to me I can withstand evil forces in the moment of distress. Withstanding is important in facing opposition but then comes the final exhortation in this passage…”and having done all, to stand.

Habakkuk 2:1-4 (NKJV) I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected. Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.  “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.

I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart KNOWING that the vision is for an appointed time. Faith and confident hope become trust in the waiting room of God. The place of presence where you see the Lord, feel Him, and know that He is with you yet nothing seems to be changing and often seems to be getting worse. Tiptoeing to impossible which is the birthplace of miracles where only God can receive the glory for what is not achievable by man. We want God to pour out His Glory on us but are we willing to stand and keep standing until our appointment time arrives.

Having been in the place of waiting for impossibilities to produce promises and living in the realm of hope, one might think I would become immune to long waits, difficult circumstances, hurtful situations and unfortunate disappointments but in my humanity I must be reminded to return to the watch…and climb up higher to the rampart. To look with my spiritual eyes for the hope of His Promise to work all things together for my good (Romans 8:28) and perfect that which concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) Up and down the ladder – the constant wavering between waiting and wondering. Thank you Lord for Your Grace that covers me when fear, doubt and anxiousness overtake me. I know God’s Word is true. I know His Promises are real and valid for me. It is my privilege to wait for Him. However, like you, I am still human – so I must remind myself when I have done all – to stand – for the just will live by faith. Faith doesn’t see the outcome from its present position but decides it is still worth having so waits for it to come.

James 2:19-20 (NKJV) But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Faith is demonstrated by our attitude and actions in life not influenced by the world but defined by our relationship with Christ. It is total trust and reliance on His Word no matter what happens in our life knowing the outcome is dependent on His Promises. We respond therefore to His Commandments with obedience to remain in alignment with the process outlined by the precedence set forth by God not society norm. To believe in Jesus Christ is not enough. To be a Christian demonstrating religious perfection is still not good enough. Our flesh responds to the good fight of faith and engages in battle against the adversary. It is when pride must lay down in humility to the sovereignty of God and wait that our reality of faith is revealed in us. It is genuine faith in God that includes the “work” called standing that exhibits confident hope. When I can do absolutely nothing to change my situation, and choose to wait on the Lord right where I am in the midst of what I am going through completely and solely dependent on His Word and Promise that faith gives way its potential and the impossible becomes my reality.

Hebrews 10:35-39 (NKJV) Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

To live by faith will require wait times. It is inevitable because endurance is a quality to found in our Christ-like character. Jesus said that those who endure to the end will be saved. Endurance is not an offensive or defensive move – it is to stand no matter what your position is. To remain confident in your hope and to live by faith even during long waits and delays that weary our heart and try our emotions. The life of waiting is part of standing for the Lord. Not grumbling, complaining and striking out against others but with the same love, peace and joy found when we see His Word come to pass. The life of consistency is desired of the Lord as it resonates true and genuine faith in Him.  He loves when we believe His is Good when things go bad. He loves when we wait patiently knowing He is faithful. Our response in the waiting is the greatest test of where we stand in our faith. Are you still standing?

Isaiah 35:3-4 (NKJV) Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will  come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”

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Teach Me

Teach Me

Psalm 143:10-11 (NKJV) Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!

“True humility is staying teachable regardless of how much you already know.” Author Unknown

A humble heart is a teachable heart. The importance of knowledge and understanding is clearly evident throughout the Word of God. Teach me to do Your Will. This should be the cry of a believer every single day. Why? Simply put – You are My God and Your Spirit is good. To believe these two statements is the mandate of remaining changeable in the Presence of God. God does not lie. He doesn’t change His Mind. His Word cannot and will not return to Him void. If it hasn’t happened, you just haven’t waited long enough. If He said it, God meant it. His Sovereignty is complete and unshakeable. He will not move so it is up to us to be moved. The Lord does not change so the process is all on us to be changed into His Image.

Isaiah 48:17 (NKJV) Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.”

Life is full of choices. I made the decision to turn off my alarm and get out of bed this morning. It begins the moment our eyes open continuing throughout the day. Each one has a ripple effect in our life. The current of our life is experience as our choices become consequences – good or bad. The ebb and flow of society is fate. I do not swim in the same stream. I believe that God has a prescribed plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) with a future and hope. I believe that all my days were recorded before I was born. (Psalm 139:16) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for my sins and was resurrected on the third day. I also believe that He ascended to sit at the Right Hand of God and will return one day. Until then, I believe that He released His Spirit to live in me as my helper and teacher in life. This is what I believe…how about you? If you answered affirmatively, then the next question is – am I teachable? That’s right. If my life is not my own and contrary to the societal portrayal of normalcy, then I must consider the source of my knowledge, understanding and wisdom. It must be from the Lord. I must humble my life to remain teachable day by day, moment by moment and breath by breath if my desired destination is to live a prospering life in the Presence of God.

Psalm 25:4-5 (NKJV) Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.

Lately, I have felt pressure to move. It is not of the Lord because wherever He sends me – I go fully equipped even into unknown areas and uncharted territory. I have felt the need to wait, watch and pray. However, people are impatient. The enemy antagonizes the waiting believer goading them to move, jump or escape the “horrendous” state of immobility and powerlessness while God does exactly what He promised to do. Seeking the Lord today, I questioned my current state of waiting. I asked the Lord to show me if I missed Him. Did I turn off course? Did I not hear Him correctly? He offered me these verses and thoughts. I desire God’s Way above my own. I want Him to show me His Ways, teach me His Paths, and lead my life in all Truth. It is the desire of my heart and the promise of the God of our salvation. He will lead everyone who is willing to follow.

Lead me in Your Truth and teach me. Since accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and later giving Him my life as Lord, I have had many experiences in trusting and believing Him to fruition. I have waiting through some mighty storms and crawled through the remains of a heart broken into a million pieces. His Faithfulness has never failed me. His Love and Kindness pursues me. His Favor shines on my life. This is my experience. But wait there is more… there is always more with the Lord. He promises to do greater than we can ask, think or even imagine if we would only trust Him with our life. (Ephesians 3:20) A commitment to Christ including living life as a follower and disciple means becoming a life-long learner. To be teachable. To desire to know His Truth by which we are all set free. Sometimes pride will get in the way of our teachability. Enough is enough is usually the cry of the hardened heart. Overburdened by waiting on a God it does not trust and Savior who is clearly never coming on their behalf. Lord, I ask you today to break off every hard part in my heart today. To give me clean hands (external) and a pure heart (internal) to receive your Word by faith and wait until it comes to pass. Give me expedient and willingness obedience to live by faith not by sight. Teach me, Lord. Keep me soft and pliant as clay in the potter’s hand. Mold me. Shape me. Create in me a clean heart and steadfast spirit willing to wait on You in all things. You are my God. Your Spirit is Good.

To have God’s Way requires God’s Word. It is not enough to read it passively but to plant it productively in our life. The seed is the Word of God sown in a soft and fertile heart ready to cultivate all the desirable first fruits produced by the Holy Spirit. This is the way of revival in the human heart that will overflow into our communities. Humble people who love and trust the Lord enough to learn His Ways and walk in them. The kind of people willing to wait for Him and watch for Him confidently until He comes. These are the same people who will shine brightly as the Light of His Love in the darkness of the world. Those who quietly and confidently seek the Lord in all things and love everyone until He comes.

“The engine of change is a teachable spirit.” Author Unknown

“In His Hands, we find solace. In His Heart, we find rest. In His Time, we find meaning. In His Eyes, we are blessed.” Beth Moore

Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Misfit

Misfit

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)  I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Forging through life in pursuit of hope led by faith, there are days when I can sit in a room for of believers and still feel like I just don’t fit in. Like a misfit, who is not suited for the environment in which I suddenly find myself yet not given to adaptation. Have you ever felt that way? I have. I do. I don’t like it. In all humility, I will be the first to admit that “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection” because the more I know Christ the less confidence I have in myself. The transition of faith fortifies confidence in hope not a sense of pride to self. I am definitely pressing to possess that thing called “perfection” or purpose that Christ Jesus first possessed me. I am finding that the more I know the Lord, trust Him, seek Him and follow Him – the more out of alignment with people that I find myself. Maybe that is what the pursuit of Jesus is all about. Letting go of fitting in with the world to fully embrace the joy of His Presence.

It is in those moments when I feel like a misfit that I must dig deep inside my heart and pull out the word or seed that God has planted there. Why am I here? How did I get here? God, what is my purpose in this place among these people? Like an ill-fitting garment, slouching over the chair, I know God has placed me exactly where I am. I am confident that the Lord is the One who led me to this place and put me right where I am. Faith is like that leading us out of comfort zone and the complacency found in it to catapult us into divine purpose that changes everything. When I feel like an outcast, out of place and out of alignment, I must ask myself – “what am I doing here?” What led me to this place? For if it is the Lord, I must only maintain alignment with Him to see all the pieces strewn across the table fall dramatically and miraculously in place. Life is like a puzzle with a beautiful picture depicted on the box. It draws us to the challenge. Once the pieces are dumped out unceremoniously on the table, the need for control and order in us begins to sort through each one. Inspecting them carefully, they must be organized all flipped to the right side and corners and edges (boundaries if you will) carefully set. Once in place, it becomes clear that the more pieces in the box and detailed the design that this could take more time than expected or allotted. Now what? Will I wait it out? Will I continue to concentrate on the finished product? Or do I swipe it all back into the box putting it on a shelf for another day perhaps when more patience is developed or someone will come help me finish it? Sometimes Christ must mess everything up to put it all back together.

Growth in anything requires total destruction of the present form to become that which is hidden inside called potential that will one day become purpose. But I am not in the Hand of the Farmer anymore, I am buried in the dirt, the shell of my exterior lies within the foundation called faith waiting for His Glory to draw me to the surface so I can see the Plan coming together and its fruit born in my life. But right now it is dark, I feel my form changing. It is an isolation that is not separation. The enemy longs for us to look in the rear view mirror. To look back and question, if we took a wrong turn or missed the turnpike. It is human nature in the process of life and journeys that take too long or head in a new direction to wonder if we have missed the destination. It is the definition of doubt. The Lord uses these times to stress the importance of true dependency on His Word, His Will and His Way. Where the Lord called you – He will complete you. You are not a misfit or mistake but rather on a mission called fulfillment to be complete in Jesus Christ.

John 1:1-5 (NLT) In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

The greatest love story ever written begins with these words. In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God and the Word was God. It takes an experience to forge God’s Word in our heart. For me it was our son’s illness, when nothing in life could save him but Jesus. When I had absolutely no hope to hold on to in the natural, God’s Word to me the very first night was the end of the rope. I tied a knot in it and held on for dear life. It changed everything. I have seen the Lord perform miracles. I have witnessed signs and wonders that human logic cannot explain. Nothing will ever have the impact that God’s Word holding true will ever have such a profound impact on my faith. The Word is essential. It is the breath of life to every living soul. It is the thing that binds us together and creates commonality in God’s People. It reveals our heritage and birthright. It is sharper than a two-edged sword dividing bone and marrow. It is alive and powerful. (Hebrews 4:12) It is the sword of God’s Spirit that slays every lie that the enemy ever slung at us. (Ephesians 6:17) It is the rod and staff that comforts us with divine direction and discipline. (Psalm 23:4) God’s Word refreshes us like a deep cleansing breath. It reveals the character of God and every promise that He has made us that will become His Purpose and fulfill His Plan. Faith is illogical and impossible without the Word of God to define it. It is but one component of His Alignment that keeps me in place when nothing seems to fit together for my good and His Glory yet it keeps me clinging to hope.

John 14:23-27(NLT) Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 

Once the Word of God takes hold of our heart, His Spirit comes to “teach you everything and remind you of everything” that the Lord has told you. We need to communicate and commune with God’s Spirit in us. Faith is going to lead us outside the borders marked trust and boundaries called fear to a place far deeper and farther than ever thought possible. As our life is unraveled to form the masterpiece the Lord has ordained it to be, the coming undone reaches our heart and soul releasing every insecurity and doubt there so faith can finally take over. The process is uncomfortable. It is not fun. It is necessary for fulfillment. To do the Will of God – we must align our life with the Spirit. It means when God tells us to go – we go. If we get there and things are not what we expected – the Holy Spirit reminds us of God’s Word and tells us to stay put. He is our Partner in the watchtower while we wait on the vision. It has an appointment in our life. If we leave the waiting too soon, we will miss hearing our name being called when the time is right.

Jesus said it plainly and made it overly simple, He said, “All who love me will do what I say.” How can I do what Jesus tells me if I do not know His Voice? He shepherds those who know His Voice and follow Him. The Word of God tells me what to do and the Holy Spirit nudges me in the right direction. He is my Advocate who is my support. (John 15:26) He is my Comforter when life is hard and uncomfortable. He is my Peace. I have the mind of Christ because His Spirit lives in my giving me hidden knowledge and secret understanding that the world and my enemy do not know. (I Corinthians 2:16) He is the Intercessor who prays for me in weakness when words escape me but is enunciated in the groaning and wailing of my soul. (Romans 8:26) I must learn to align my life with God’s Word and His Will to have His Way.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” The only way that I can live in agreement with God is through Jesus Christ. He is the Way. He is the “champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” There is a whole lot of mileage between those two words making life a marathon rather than a sprint. We prefer the sprints in life that hint at immediate gratification. Faith is a process defined by endurance. It is a lengthy endeavor requiring a sacrificial commitment of all of me for All of Him. Piece by piece our life is offered to the Lord as He shapes and molds us into who He created us to be. Have you ever watched a potter form a clay pot? It can be a brutal process. First he must begin to squeeze it and press it down hard with both hands to soften it and make it pliable. He may use some water to moisten it. Once on the wheel, it begins to spin all the while his hands creating his vision and bringing purpose to life. But if in the process, something goes awry, he will remove it from the wheel and start all over again. If he places the piece inside the kiln and sets the fire on high, any imperfection may cause the pot to break under the intense heat. God has a plan and purpose for our life defined by His Word. It is written to perfection with a future and hope that He is intent on giving His Children. His Spirit, the very essence of His Presence, accompanies us on the long journey to find the Way. We must follow the Way. He is the Author and Finisher of faith. The Champion who gives us victory. He has gone before us and falls in behind us covering and protecting us along His Path. He will never let the righteous fall. Leveling mountains and straightening our path, we cannot get there without Him.

Philippians 3:15-16 (NLT) Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

Back to the crowded room of Christians, believers, and righteous people, where I sit as a misfit. Knowing this is where I belong but feeling completely out of place, it is the Word of God, His Will and His Way that keeps me firmly in planted by faith. Alignment with the Lord including His Word, His Will and His Way keeps us from being distracted by how we feel because God is greater than our feelings. He put me in this place “for such a time as this.” I can choose to walk away and find a place that I am more comfortable or I can remain committed to God’s Word, Will and Way. I am free. Christ has set me free and given me the choice of the life I live. Now it is up to me. This is what the Lord has said to me and He may be whispering to you today – “we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Regret romances the past while hope embraces the future. My hope is in the Lord not this world it’s people or anything else. Hope in Jesus never ever leads to disappointment. These are not just words to me anymore but the experience I live on and lifeline I hold on to. To continue in the race of faith and make the mark of His High Calling means I cannot give up but must wait it out. Waiting is not my favorite and I daresay probably not yours either. It is necessary while the Lord takes all the pieces of our life making good on His Promise that they will be used for our good and His Glory. This life I live for Christ is walked according to faith not by the things that I see or how I feel. Faith is the substance of the things we hope for not naturally evident or occuring. If we do not bear the qualities of faith such as perseverance and endurance – it is not possible to reap the benefits of it called confident hope. Hope is the priceless commodity that only faith can grow in us. It requires aligning our life with Christ and waiting for everything else to fall into place.

Philippians 3:8-9 (NLT) Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

Worth the Wait

worth-the-wait

Psalm 62:5-8 (NLT) Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. 

The most difficult part of sowing and reaping is the inactivity of waiting. The seed is planted safely under fertile soil and watered sufficiently. Now what do I do until I see its potential? I must wait. Waiting takes a little thing called patience which I was not born with. One of my earliest recollections is my grandmother lovingly but firmly telling me, “Lori Lynn, you must learn to be patient.” However, historically in the church I was told whatever you do for the love of all that is holy DO NOT pray for patience. So where do I find this little genetic insufficiency called patience. Waiting. Waiting. And waiting some more. I have tried my whole life to do whatever possible to avoid waiting one moment longer than absolutely necessary. God has jokes, friend. If I pick a line at the grocery store, I can guarantee you it is behind the world’s most famous coupon queen or the cashier is slower than Christmas. Do not follow me, I am prone to extended wait times. I prefer ordering lunch from the sandwich that boasts being “freaky fast” and lives up to its name. God has prescribed the perfect plan for me and it has included long arduous periods of waiting. But, I can attest to one thing – each time I have waited for the Lord, it has been worth the wait.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT) For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Forgive me, if this sound as though I am stating the obvious but indulge me for just a few minute. Ecclesiastes 3:1 is important. It is the purpose of waiting. Everything has a season. Not some things, but all things. This is referenced in two places. Psalm 139:16 tells us that during the Creation process as God packed us with potential that He prerecorded every moment of our life. Every year, every month, every day, every hour right down to this very minute. Jeremiah 29:11 which tells us that God has a plan for us including a future and a hope. Future is not today but later. Tie it all together with the principle that God does not lie or change His Mind, and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever – it solidifies the truth that EVERYTHING has a season.

There is a time for every activity under Heaven. Again the word “every” is used. There is not a moment of a person’s natural existence that does not have the potential to yield His Purpose and His Promises in our life. Seeds of potential that must be pressed in the broken and fertile heart to produce those things that faith has promised in our life. If Romans 8:28 and Psalm 138:8 are correct, and they absolutely are, it means every moment of our life can yield God’s Promises and Abundant Blessings. Every detail of our life can be made into something good no matter how terrible or tragic. God is always working to perfect those things that concern us. Everything good or bad in our life can be made right through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

The seasons of life are carefully listed in Ecclesiastes 3:2-8, while some are joyous others can be quite devastating. We celebrate life but mourn death. We complain about planting but love to reap the harvest. Killing is tragic but healing is a miracle. Tearing down is tough but building up quite rewarding. Crying is soulful pain that makes us all puffy and snotty, but doesn’t laughter produce the same tears sometimes. Nobody likes the grieving process. We all love to dance even if alone when nobody is watching. Who doesn’t love a hug? Parting is such sweet sorrow. There are times to hang on and times to let go. There are times to press in and times we give up. Things kept while others discarded as unwanted, unnecessary or not beneficial. Time to tear and time to mend. A time for conversation and long separations of silence. There is good and evil and so therefore love and hate. Finally, the Latin adage of “Si vis pacem, para bellum” or if you want peace, prepare for war. The Lord went to all the trouble to touch on every season of human life. God has a plan. It is a good one with a future and hope. It will always require waiting.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

In every detail of our life, God has placed a promise. God will make everything beautiful for its own time. The seeds of potential the Lord placed in us all have a set season or time for which they are entrusted. The attempt to harvest any seed prematurely will abort the potential within it. A baby born too soon, a harvest cut before it is ripe, and even a promise entrusted to God but snatched from His Hands impatiently because there is no faith to secure it. Hope is the anchor of our soul but it is not based on anything that can be seen with the human eye. It is help secure by one’s ability to trust God at His Word. The good seed planted in our heart. It is called eternity. It is based on forever and a day.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Faith is defined in worldly terms as confidence and trust that is not based on proof. Tangible evidence is absent when faith is applied. Faith comes from the Latin root word “fidem” which means “to trust.” The only way to engage in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is by faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith is referred to as a mustard seed. The smallest of seeds with the largest potential. Faith demonstrates that hope is a reality in our life. It is evidence of our belief in the unseen God to the point of entrusting our life and future to Him. Hope is to look forward to (expect or anticipate) with reasonable confidence. To believe and again to trust.

In a world of broken promises, hearts and dreams, trust is a tough commodity. It is not harvested easily from our very human heart. Yet, it is in brokenness that the promise is received. If life was great all the time and our future secure – who needs a Savior? Why make Jesus Lord? Well, life is hard. Love is cold. The future uncertain. We need a Savior because sin has devastated the life that He purposed for the people who God calls His Special Treasure. Jesus died so that our faith could harvest hope in our life. Many people believe in a God or higher power, but few truly will commit their life by faith in the Truth that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I will not engage in such conversation. The need for a god comes from the eternity placed in each heart. Everyone searches for meaning and purpose in life based on this motivation. If my faith becomes a tree of life for me, it will become an attractive resting place for others. They will want what I have. What I have is not a law by which I cannot abide, but a book packed with promise and potential that by faith, hope and confidence trust – the Lord will produce in my life. It takes time.

Christian character is marked by three distinct qualities – faith, hope and love. The Lord is quick to point out that the greatest of these is love. Love for the Lord produced in our life gives us a distaste for sin. Why? Taste and see that the Lord is good. It is not based on my ability not to sin but avoidance of sin because I love Jesus. Christian character is not defined by doctrine or religious beliefs. This is why I do not argue with people about religious choice or how they choose to worship. No one could convince me. It is the moment in time when all there is to make the next breath possible is faith no matter how small, hope no matter how distant, and His Love that is not tangible yet perfect when something grows in me just a little. It is called confidence. Trust yields confidence in our Christian character. Trust is only possible by faith. Faith in its smallest form yields great potential.

Romans 5:1-5 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

The greatest test of my faith by far so far has been our son’s battle with cancer. The moment when his future became negotiable in this life and solely dependent on the Lord. Truth is that life is brief and uncertain no matter how hard one tries to secure it. If only each person could see the brevity of life and let it change our priorities each day. When I came to the throne boldly, angrily, devastated and broken before my God, I recanted the commitment of my life to Him demonstrated by the things done, ways served, and daily acts of devotion. The words fell on the hard cement floor accompanying the pieces of my broken heart. Like Elijah, it was after my rant, tirade, frustration and fear emptied and silence surrounded me that I heard the Voice of the Lord. It was calm and quiet just as described, the still small voice asked, “Do you trust me?” “Of course, I do!” Thinking back, I almost hurled them back insulted by the fact that clearly God did not listen to my previous rant. Chest heaving and tears flowing, the God of the Universe asked me again, “Do you trust me?” Completely broken before my Lord, I whispered, “Yes God, I trust you!” In that moment, He said, “Your son will live and not die.” This was not the end of the season, but only the beginning. It would take five years for God’s Word to come to pass.

Endurance develops strength of character. Christian character is faith, hope and love. Human expectation causes us to think that our faith is vain and trust misplaced when God’s Plan is not our way, our will, and in our timeframe. The one who endures to the end with faith, hope and love is saved. I added those three things to keep us focused on what we are after. If my faith is for today is not faith at all. If my hope is anything other than what I cannot see or do myself it is futile. If my love is conditional or contingent on any tangible quality of life – it’s not true love. Real love. Agape love. God love.

Hope will not lead to disappointment. A farmer cultivates the field, plants his seed in fertile soil, watering and caring for it when there is no sign of harvest. He trusts that something is growing underground based on what kind of seed that he has planted. A farmer believes in the process. It is his belief that allows him to wait and not dig up the harvest while it is seed in the ground. It keeps him from leaving the field when little plants sprout up rather than the harvest that he expected. It allows him peaceful rest knowing that if just waits until it is ready that he will reap what he has sown. He knows his labor is not in vain but that timing is everything. We must be like the farmer. We must be patient. We must learn to wait for God’s Promises to be ready for harvest. It is this confidence that keeps us close to Jesus through the process until the very end. It is the kind of faith and hope that opens the door to the eternity placed in our heart that satisfies our soul.

Jeremiah 29:13-14 (NLT) If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

God’s Plans for our life are always good. Never for disaster. The Lord has given you a future and hope. He has given us a desire for eternity. Forever is secure by seeking just three things wholeheartedly. Faith, hope and love that begin and end in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Those who desire His Kingdom will sow seeds of faith each day. God’s Word is proof of the promises that the Lord guarantees. If the tiny mustard seeds are never planted and given time to grow, how will I ever have confident hope? Hope that keeps me standing. Hope that keeps believing. Hope that endures to the end. Hope that cannot be shaken or moved by the not-so-favorable seasons of life. Hope is expectation. To look forward with reasonable confidence. Faith is only logical when confident hope causes us to trust Him more. The more we learn to trust God the greater our satisfaction, contentment and peace in this life knowing that our future is secure forever. It makes a difference. I cannot give you satisfaction, contentment or peace. I can only share what the Lord is doing in my life. My family was right. With each test of my patience and lesson in waiting – my faith in the Lord has grown into confident hope. To walk by faith and not by sight is a process developed by sowing God’s Word and waiting for it to come to pass and produce the harvest for which it is intended. It takes time. It requires waiting. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT) Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

What are you waiting for today? What is trying your patience? What seems to be taking forever so you are considering striking it from your prayer list? What is impossible? What dream is dying? God’s Purpose for us is that our character be fully developed, perfect and complete so that we need nothing. Satisfaction and contentment are godly traits that demonstrate trust in the Lord not the evidence of life. Are you confident in God’s Word today? Do you believe His Promises? Do you trust Him? Are you willing to wait for Him to make good of all the details and perfect all that concerns you?

God’s Goodness is for now. His Glory is promised by placing all that I am into the person of Jesus Christ. Grace is only sufficient in our weakness. Waiting is not a weak position but the very place when His Power overtakes my life and becomes a harvest in my life. The fruit of His Spirit are not of this world. His Harvest is named love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is what nourishes our soul and strengthens our heart to achieve the future and hope that is offered to those who invest wholeheartedly in pursuing the Lord and His Harvest. Wait for the Lord. It is a requirement as faith and hope make us confident in His Love for us. Believing God’s Word means trusting Him to do exactly what it says, not backing down, giving up, or even complaining about it but waiting patiently until it comes to pass. He promises that everything will be beautiful in its own time. Everything even that thing which is ugly and seems to be dying will produce new life according to its purpose. Nothing is impossible with God! It will be worth the wait!

Psalm 20:4-5 (NLT) May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers.

Stand Firm

Stand Firm

I Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV) Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.

One’s natural inclination is to fight for a belief. To stand guard against our principles. Standing firm in one’s faith becomes a battle stance towards opposition. To be courageous is not an exterior hardness but an internal softness difficult to comprehend. Strength is not intestinal fortitude or something physically acquired. The Power of God begins and ends for us as human beings in one place. God loves us. He loves us unconditionally. It doesn’t matter what we do or how far we wander, the moment of repentance and turning back – the Lord is always right there waiting. It is our inability to fully accept the extravagance of free grace that keeps us fighting for a faith already given to us from the start.

Romans 12:3 reminds us that humility is in order “in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” God gave me my faith. I didn’t think it, create it, or earn it in any way, shape or form but rather simply accept it from the Hand and Heart of God. He fills my heart with Eternity giving me the desire to seek Him and find Him to be in that place. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) The Lord promises to make everything beautiful in His Time. Faith is the birthplace of miracles, meeting place for promises, and the platform on which we wait for the Lord because of confident hope that He will come. Could it be that we grow tired of waiting on God and standing firm in our faith because we fight for what is already our own?

Last month, our family purchased a new home. We have now bought three homes which serving the Lord and each time it is the same. We know when we find it that it is what the Lord has for us. I can’t tell you how I know, just that we do and so go through all the steps to attain that which is ours in Jesus Christ. Side note: every decision in life may be subject to God through prayer. It is up to us what we take boldly to the Throne Room of God called His Presence in our prayer room each day. God has a detailed and well-ordered plan for our life including every single detail therefore nothing is considered insignificant to the Lord. We were given a day and time to meet to close the deal. Sitting across the table from the homeowner, we took possess of the property. We signed the bank contracts assuming financial responsibility as the previous owners released the title and deed to us. They handed us the keys and garage door opener giving us last minute pointers about the neighborhood, people and various household items. We shook hands and left the office. We owned our new property. It belonged to us. We did not have to gather weapons and make a battle plan but simply pulled the huge truck with the contents of our life, open the door with the keys provided to us, and step in to our brand new home and life. The house was vacant and ready for our occupation. We only had to claim what belonged to us. What are you fighting for today that already belongs to you? I am asking myself the very same thing. Are there things in my life that require only standing in faith on His Promise, but instead I am expending a whole lot of energy trying to make it mine today? Am I fighting those things already apprehended? The enemy is defeated. I have the Keys to the Kingdom. The devil cannot “make me” do anything that I do not want to do because I am filled with God’s Spirit. Greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world. I am more than a conqueror if I can only stand firm.

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NIV) For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19) Do you believe this statement? Though we know that God is not human, it is natural for us to give him human traits, qualities and characteristics that are not true. When the Lord gives us a promise, the answer is “yes” already but the part that gets us is the waiting. It is the standing issue between God and His People that we must overcome. We you continue to stand past the point of impossibility. The moment that what you were promised and that which you hope for becomes completely incomprehensible and totally impossible naturally.

I have taken many “stands” and fallen from my “watchtower” more times than I can count. It took a life or death matter to finally make me persevere to the end. It took losing it all to find what really matters in life. Why such drastic measures? Probably because we lack the determination and dedication as human beings driven by comfort and immediate gratification the ability to stand firm until the end. The Lord uses our life and His Promises to teach us to wait and watch for Him. He uses these opportunities to fortify our faith in His Foundation for our life. His Grace allows us the strength needed to get back up after stumbling or tumbling in life. He is teaching us patience. We are learning persistence, passion and perseverance in our pursuit of Christ even though it feels like temporary trails or temptations, it can have a lasting impact.

Luke 21:19 (NIV) Stand firm and you will win life.

I have seen competitions where people must stand with their hand on a car. The last one standing wins the automobile. They will endure harsh weather conditions, taunts of other contestants, overcome the temptation to quit, and even endure physical pain to win a brand new car. I have seen this same competition for other prizes. People will undergo public humiliation for “things”. What will we do to win “life”? How far will we go to enter Eternity? Matthew 13:13 warns that “everyone will hate you (me) because of me (Jesus)but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” My life is worth nothing if at the end of it, I do not find Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 6:13-18 (NIV) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

For three long years, our son battled cancer. He would have clear scans and a few weeks later cancer would creep back on the screen. All his life, as his mom, I was his nurse on call. I took care of all the bumps, bruises and occasional hurt feelings. But when the diagnosis was cancer, everything changed. I was powerless. As the stages crept up the scale, doctors, nurses and even friends and family began to lose hope. When the medical team finally did have a plan, even though a long shot, it would require months of fighting just for him to have the chance. It literally came down to the promise that God had given me the very first night as the reality and gravity set in. I ran right into His Presence demanding a response. God gave me a promise. “Trust me. Your son will live and not die to declare my works.” When the only thing you have to hold on to is God’s Promise is it enough for you to stand on? This is what it means to stand firm never lifting a finger but only to praise.

“Put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” It says absolutely nothing about fighting for your faith but to simply “stand your ground”. Let’s look at our armor again as a method of defense rather than offense. With the belt of truth buckled around your waist. The Truth or God’s Word is that which keeps us standing every time. It is the foundation of our life in Christ. Jesus is the Word wrapped in flesh. He holds us up as His Word keeps us upright. The Breastplate of Righteousness covers our heart. It keeps sin away from our heart so we can love the Lord wholeheartedly. Right standing with God keeps us where we need to be in the safety of close proximity to Christ. Following Jesus keeps our feet shod in peace. We are at peace with the Lord so we can live at peace with others. Our expectations are met. With a satisfied soul, we can walk this life out in love rather than competition and expectation for lesser things. We must hold tight to the shield of faith which blocks every single lie and snare that the enemy lies before us to trick us, distract us and dissuade us from following Jesus wholeheartedly. If the enemy has part of our heart, he has all of it. The helmet of salvation protects our mind. It is confidence in the Love and Grace of Jesus Christ and His Work on the Cross. We are given the Mind of Christ and I believe this is the same thing. If we think like Jesus, we will act like Him. Finally the Sword of the Spirit, which is our only weapon and defense in this whole armor. Verse 18 tells us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” You can never pray enough as you stand firmly for the Lord. It is probably safe to say that if you do not pray you will not stand. All of these vital components are provided so that you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand!

Galatian 5:1 (NIV) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) Standing firm will always require waiting. While we wait, it is easy to get wrapped up in doing to take our mind off things. It is the assumption that we must “do” something to make God move for us or in us that is the most dangerous lie the enemy has every told. We cannot add to or take from the Work of God or that which Jesus performed on the Cross. Salvation is complete without me and absolutely free to me. I cannot earn it. I cannot repay Christ. I can only acknowledge Him by standing firm until the end. Those who endure will be saved. What can I do? Is there anything that I am obligated to do for Christ? Yes…just one thing.

I Corinthians 16:14 (NIV) Do everything in love.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8) Standing firm will always have but one requirement. We must demonstrate His Love in everything we do. Everything. All-inclusive never exclusive – we must love one another. Hold each other up. Build one another up. Encourage each other. Reach out to one another. To form relationships with those attempting to stand firm, too. It can be a lonely venture. The only debt that we have in life is to love. Love like Jesus. Fulfill the Great Commission. Love one another. To love extravagantly, forgivingly, and unconditionally just like Jesus. That’s it.

I Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV) So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Have you been thinking on stepping down? Is the Lord just taking a little too long? Do you doubt His Word to you? Are you experiencing opposition? Can I encourage you today? Stand firm. Do not back down, but you don’t have to keep swinging either. The battle is the Lord’s and He is fighting for you today. Surrender to Jesus. Submit to His Will. Stand firm and immovable on His Promise and remain in His Word. He is indeed working on your behalf. You are free to wait until He is down. Jesus promises that you will be complete lacking nothing. It will be worth it. Not a moment is every wasted waiting on the Lord. Stand firm, my friend, stand firm.

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV) I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

Inconvenient Life

Inconvenient Life

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT) That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

 

The week of “what next” is what I would call it. Just one thing after another, nothing terminal. My life has felt as though I am being pecked to death by a brace of ducks attacking feet. One annoyance after another. Sick children topped the list. One trip to the doctor will now turn to two. Missed work going on day three and wondering if it is piling up on me. My left eye is twitching so now I am wondering if I have pink eye, too. Schedules interrupted. Routines broken. I think I need to disinfect my entire house all over again. Do I have bleach? Wait work. I need to focus on work. Will I get caught up today? What about the house? Why isn’t it selling? Man, I hope the new one is not under contract. Wait! What am I doing? Inconvenience. I would call my life inconvenient today. What about you? Are things going as planned? Minor illnesses plaguing the roost? Work got you down? Housework piling up? Schedule hectic. Routine ruthless. All these things lead to distraction. Deadly distractions if we do not see things from a higher view and broader perspective.

 

We must never ever consider for a moment giving up but always strive to press on. We are called to something greater and much higher than the ordinary things in life that tend to hold us back. Our emotions get entangled in the inconveniences and soon our faith is strained and hope bogged down in the temporary rather than fixed on the eternal. It happens to us all. We are all human but called to a supernatural life much greater than ourselves. Greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4) It is this mindset that allows us to fix our eyes on the things we cannot see rather than becoming consumed with all that is around us. “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) It is time to take it up a notch. To look beyond all the inconveniences that exist in our ordinary existence to reach for the extraordinary life God planned for us.

 

Our present troubles are small. They won’t last long. Our trouble is only temporary even though some days it feels as though you just can’t seem to catch a break. Remember Job, first it was everything he loved and all of his livelihood and then his life. Did he know that God wouldn’t allow the enemy to kill him? I am sure as the boils rose and broke on his skin, death seemed like a relief. God had other plans. He planned to prosper and bless Job giving him double for his trouble. What about you? Do you feel as though you and Job have a thing or two in common? If so, rejoice! Rather than looking at the situation, celebrate the season that is coming. I know, I know. It’s hard sometimes to see the forest for the trees. But God wants to take you wider, longer, higher and deeper than ever before so that His Love can wrap around every single part of your life. (Ephesians 3:18-20) It is in the Presence of God that we can see above the pain, heartache, suffering of this season into the next one that is coming. It is called faith. It is the very thing that produces hope that never leads to disappointment. While you are simply looking for a way out, God has more in store for you than you might ask or think.

 

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

 

If you can see it, do it, or think it – you really do not need faith to secure it. Faith is the reality of things that we hope for and the evidence of things that we cannot see. When the life does not add up to the Promises of God – it is important that we live in the realm of hope. The life of faith is ever changing the more we pursue the Lord. Faith is illogical. It requires God’s Spirit to hold on to because there is no tangible evidence otherwise. Hope in us must become so weighty it resembles a mighty anchor or we will waver and drift away. (Hebrews 6:19) I have come to live for the word “impossible”. When someone deems that nothing more can be done or attempts to seal my destiny with a word life “forever”, they step outside their realm of authority into God’s Place in my life. He does not take this lightly and time after time changes the situation immediately. Trouble is most people cannot exist without options or escape routes. They will follow Jesus until it me going places our feet cannot touch, or jumping out of the boat to walk on water. Comfort and compromise take the place of inconvenience. We want immediate gratification so many times God’s Timing is just not acceptable to us. It is in those moments of decision when we choose to stick it out and wait to see what God is doing that we experience double portions, complete healings, supernatural turnaround and more.

 

Hebrews 11:13-16 (NLT) All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

 

Just like you, there are things in my life that do not add up to what God has promised me in His Word and confirmed in my spirit. I am waiting. I don’t like to wait. In fact, it is a joke among those who know me. Yet, God consistently gives me opportunities to wait. When I have waited and watched beyond my expected wait time, rather than abandoning my post, I now begin digging a little deeper and try to look past what I can see. I have learned that in my waiting that the Lord is always active. But what if, like the “foreigners and nomads” wandering the earth, waiting and watching for the Messiah, I had died before He came. Would I have been faithful? Would I have strived to live a holy life? Would I have been called “righteous”? They did not receive the promise in their lifetime, yet seeing it in the distance still welcomed it. I want that to be me today. No longer bothered by the inconveniences in my life but to be focused and settled on the Kingdom that is coming that lives in me now.

 

I Peter 1:14-17 (NLT) So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”

 

Many times people become so engrossed in making this life better, we lose sight of that which is coming that is far greater than this life we live. We want God to satisfy our fleshly desires, fill our bank accounts, tame our rowdy children, give us promotions and increase along with a nice house and fancy car yet none of that will add a moment or measure to our life of worth. Those things are dying with this planet. We must live as God’s Obedient Children right now. Before we see Him, just because we know Him and love Him. We must be holy, set apart and consecrated to the Lord which means constantly and consistently laying our life down for others in every way possible. We must live humbly.  We are to live respectfully. We are to live honestly. We are temporary residents and must live faithful to the Kingdom to which we belong. My response to life should not be based on my circumstances but solely on my residence in God’s Kingdom and responsibility as a Child of the King.

 

I Peter 2:13-17 (NLT) For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

 

There is no sense of entitlement in the Kingdom of God and so we cannot adopt one here. The world owes us nothing. As a member of the Body of Christ, I do owe the world something. Love. Romans 13:8 says, “Own nothing to anyone except your obligation to love one another.” We are to submit to ALL human authority even if you did not choose it or vote for it. It is God’s Will for us to live honorable lives that silence ignorant people. Here’s a hint – there are no soapboxes in Heaven. You do not have to prove a point. Discredit the devil. Or prove God right. You are called to love everyone. If your words brutalize another, they are not from God. We can love others to Jesus without offending them, verbally assaulting them or even convincing them of hell. We must use our attitude and actions to convince other people that God’s Love is great and His Grace even greater so they will see Him and love Him like we do.

 

James 1:2-4 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

 

We will always have trouble. There will be trials in our life to produce faith that is so precious. Endurance is the thing that allows our faith to grow into the capacity needed to have secure hope that can live for forever rather than fixed on today. The process is lengthy. Some days overwhelming. But for those who do not give up and carry the term “temporary resident” though life is inconvenient, it will always be worth it. Nothing is wasted as God’s Word Promises. He works every detail in our life for our good. (Romans 8:28) He perfects that which concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) He has a plan far greater than my own containing a future and hope even though I want it right now. (Jeremiah 29:11) What does He want in return? Just for me to believe. If I choose to live this life as though I really do believe in God, His Son, His Spirit and His Kingdom, this inconvenient life will lead to an everlasting forever. The Lord desires to make us perfect and complete needing nothing. Fully satisfied and completely fulfilled. Who doesn’t want that? Everyone does. Who is willing to wait for it? Not as many. Those who endure to the end will be saved. Will it be you? Will it be me? I intend to make it so.

 

John 20:29 (NLT) Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are

Wait and See

Wait and See

Isaiah 64:4 (NIV) Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

 

Waiting is not my favorite past time. When people make us wait past a specified time, it is easy to become annoyed. As one plagued with chronic time challenges, I have struggled for years with arriving on time much less waiting for another. If you are the person who others tell to arrive fifteen to thirty minutes beforehand just so they will not have to wait on you again, you may have the same problem. I set the clocks around me ahead so I will get out on time. I am convinced it is an undocumented handicap. My dad feels differently. He challenged me as a young person to overcome my perpetual tardiness by understanding that when I choose not to arrive on time, I am telling the person who is waiting on me that I do not value their time as much as my own. Whoa! It was a stark revelation to me that I still remember and have shared with our children. I still run about five minutes behind consistently and since I am married to a man who wants to be five minute early therefore I am still trying to get my act together. The flip side of the coin is that I do not like to wait. I make others wait but when it comes to me, the sooner the better. Lord, fix me please. My shallow heart that sees time as a capsule that I live in rather than the Eternity that you have created.

 

I am playing the waiting game again. Vastly annoyed, I have fussed at the Lord, begged Him, pleaded with Him and agonized that He would please move on my behalf. Nothing. Nada. I am still waiting on that thing which He promised. I have even questioned the validity of that promise even though I know that I know the Lord made it to me. My faith is being tested. Hope challenged Will I stay or will I go? There is nothing keeping me from wandering off, running ahead, or stubbornly pushing the issue until I do it my way rather than waiting on His Way. But then in the quiet hours of morning, rather than chastising my impatience or punishing my indiscretion, the Lord leans down and whispers in my ear, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides (me), who acts on behalf of those who wait for (me).”

 

I Samuel 13:7-14 (NIV) Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.  “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

 

There are things to remember when waiting on the Lord that must not be forgotten. We have been given a purpose and many precious promises that the enemy would like to steal, kill and destroy. It is up to us to remain secure in the Lord’s Presence waiting for His Arrival in all things or forfeit the victory and give up the territory that we have already been given through Christ Jesus.

 

1) Fear and doubt ALWAYS lead to impatience. When Saul saw the men scattering in fear, he stopped waiting for Samuel’s arrival. Impatience rises up from fear and doubt. These are qualities of disbelief that limit one’s ability to receive God’s Best in their life. If you want more of God, if you are calling out for revival, if you desire Jesus Christ to be an active partner in life, one must be diligent in uprooting disbelief and filling it with more faith. Worry and stress are symptomatic of fear. Fear is fueled by doubt and defined as “false evidence appearing real.” The only way to combat a lie is with the Truth. The enemy is quite stealth at taking God’s Word and twisting it with ignorance. A lack of knowledge causes people to be destroyed. (Hosea 4:6) The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion. But just like at the zoo, if we are obedient in following the directions posted on the wall keeping cages and fences between us and this predator – we will successfully make it out alive and safely to our home.

 

2) Impatience always leads to indiscretion. The word indiscretion that one is lacking in a few key areas of determination that lead us to greater faith in God. Indiscretion is a lack of good judgment. We do not always think in terms of eternity and are quickly shifted to reality because we can see it, touch it, feel it and taste it. We must familiarize ourselves with the senses that recognize the Kingdom so when we enter the realm of the impossible we have the faith to stick it out. Indiscretion leads to a lack of prudence or common sense. Pressure can push us from what we know and understand about God to that which gives immediate relief or resolution. Finally, indiscretion is a lack of circumspection or observation that causes us to act without caution or with blatant disregard for what we know is true. Impatience leads to all these things that forfeit the purpose and promises of God given to those who are obedient.

 

3) Indiscretion leads to disobedience. There is an old proverb that says “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” People who are constantly moving with no roots in one place or another, avoid responsibilities and care. They also lack growth and development. They are what they are and will be no more. When we choose impatience rather than waiting on the Lord, there will be indiscretions that lead to disobedience.  Saul began to fear and therefore doubt Samuel’s arrival. Saul became impatient as the few soldiers that he had left began to scatter. Rather than continuing to wait, Saul took matters into his own hands and performed priestly duties which clearly and completely violated God’s Law. What happened next?

 

4) Disobedience disconnects us from God’s Plan. Saul could have ruled and reigned over Israel for all time. But the moment that Saul chose his plan, another ruler was chosen for God’s People. David who qualified as a man after God’s Heart. Obedience is a choice. It is not always an easy choice. In fact, most of the time, it is the most challenging and difficult one to make in the influential and sinful world we live in. It means that there will be many times we wait and watch for the Lord is seeming isolation. The Lord gives us a promise. We hear it. We receive it. We believe it. Life happens. We begin to pick it apart. Doubt creates divots that soon fill with fear. Eroding our character and weakening ones reserve, we begin to wonder if it is true or somehow we have lost sight of reality. Friends, faith doesn’t make sense. It is illogical. It will not meet the requirement of reality. But just wait and see… His Promise is not delayed but being performed to perfection. Thankfully we have something that Saul did not. We have the Grace of God and freedom in Jesus to come running back when we wander off or even wonder off. He celebrates our return. Reestablishing our righteousness and holding us close. He is a good, good Father to those who He has called as His Children.

 

Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NIV) I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

 

It is really hard as a parent to say, “No” sometimes. Not when it comes to our child’s safety or wellbeing but those desires in their heart that we long to fulfill. I am not a push-over parent. We have really great kids who have not been hard to manage, overly disobedient or rebellious to date. It makes me want to bless them all the more. Though I love them and always want to bless them, I also know that I must teach them about responsibilities, faithfulness, and obedience, too. When I am not with them, they must make good choices. I know that God is molding and shaping me the very same way. His aspirations and goals for my life are so much greater than I can even think to ask for. In the waiting, when fear and doubt begin to take over, and it seems like I am a fool – it is the promise of His Great Love and even Greater Grace that digs up those words, that promise, and holds them tightly as I ascend the watchtower again.

 

I must wait on the Lord. I have to see what He will do next because honestly everything that He has done for me has been perfect. I lack no good thing. I know He is coming. He always does. It is not a matter of if, just when. So as I sit here today on this watchtower of waiting, guarding my faith, my strength is renewed by His Grace that somehow always finds me in my weakness. I am watching. I am waiting on the Lord. Will you wait and see with me?

 

Psalm 27:14 (NIV) Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Hurry Up and Wait

Hurry Up and Wait

Psalm 27:13-14 (MSG)

I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God.

 

Waiting. Not my favorite thing in life. But absolutely necessary to teach me faith and endurance. I totally understand why waiting is essential…now. Patience is something needed to see the Will of God give way to every single promise that He made us. God doesn’t make me wait to punish me or to somehow shape me. I wait until my faith is big enough to take on the magnitude of what He has in store for us. Too many times we try to understand exactly what God is doing rather than just waiting as He does it. It is not my job to understand every step to breakthrough just allowing God the room to move in our complete confidence in Him. Waiting is not about stretching me but my faith to reach the capacities of God’s Goodness.

Everyone is waiting for something or someone. Eternity exists in every human heart producing the feeling that there is more to life than what we are living right now. Eternity is our ultimate goal. We cannot get to the Kingdom of God without faith so we take steps along the way. If we can learn to hurry up and wait on the Lord, I believe that we would get farther in our walk of faith and see the goodness of God today rather than tomorrow. Waiting is all about faith and confidence in the Lord. To wait and not move is clearly an act of trust, otherwise we would try to make things happen. But in those moments when we decide we want what God has more than the world is offering, there is a willingness to wait on the Lord like never before. I have never been disappointed when I decided to hope in the Lord. I have not wasted a minute waiting on God!

Psalm 5:1-3 (MSG)

Listen, God! Please, pay attention! Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries? King-God, I need your help. Every morning you’ll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend.

 

By the third cancer diagnosis less than three years from the first discovery, it was clear that medicine was close to exhausting its efforts in saving our son. This was the point when the doctor’s declared us to be in the realm of hope. I remember when she made the declaration over us and the peace that flooded my heart and soul in that moment. Like finally, we are here. Now God can do something about this situation. We have done all that we can do now it’s time to stand. Whenever anyone uses words like “forever, never and impossible” around me, I get excited. It is like moving from there here and now into God’s Territory. My forever is with Him. Never is not in my vocabulary anymore. Nothing is impossible for God. When there three things come up, it is time for God to step up and do what He does which is pour out His Glory in my life. It happens over and over again.

Each day I come to the Lord and give Him my life. I shove my husband, children, family, friends, coworkers and every other person I come in contact with on the altar. I ask Him to take care of thing today like only He can and move me out of the way as much as possible. Every morning I sit down with God. I come whether I feel like it or not. I don’t do it as a religious rite. He is more necessary than coffee to me. I need the Lord. I have seen what happens to my life when I withhold the tiniest fragment from the Lord and want no part of it. I want His Power. His Glory. His Goodness for my life. I want all of Him so I hurry into His Presence and wait for Him to come. I have been getting up early to meet with the Lord every day for more than six years now. I have not missed a single day. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing. This is essential to seeing God’s Will and Way come to pass in my life. There have been days that have proven to be more challenging than my humanity can take. Thankfully I hurried into His Presence early which prepared me to wait for Him now.

Psalm 62:1-2 (MSG)

God, the one and only—I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life.

 

I just left a position with the local school board which is a governmental agency with excellent benefits and a good retirement. Each position posted receives more than one hundred applications. Many state workers get a bad rap. They are known for what some call “making eight.” You make your eight hours and wait it out you get paid. When it is your turn you get a promotion. You just show up every day and you are good. It takes a lot to get fired after the initial 90-day probationary period. There are many people in different positions that believe if they just wait long enough they will be rewarded for faithful service. I do not disagree with their philosophy as long as you do the job that you were hired to do. Do your best. Work hard in the position, etc. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that there are many who expect to be rewarded for simply hanging around. It doesn’t work that way. God doesn’t work that way either. Waiting on God must be accompanied by faith. We must work on our faith. How do we do that? We believe. When you believe that everything you need comes from God, it changes how you interact with the world around you? Confidence in the Lord is evidenced by how we wait.

Isaiah 30:18 (MSG)

But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.

 

God is waiting on you today. The Lord is waiting for me. God has so many things that He wants to do in our life that require of faith and trust in Him… all of it. God is not finished. If He was, you wouldn’t be here anymore. You have a purpose not yet filled. A blessing not yet received. Goodness getting ready to spill over in your life. Are you willing to hurry up and wait for it today? Waiting on God is essential to every single thing that He is ready to do in our life. Waiting says I have faith in you God. It tells God that we want what He has more than anything else. It is a commitment to the Lord beyond what we can see, hear and feel. It is all about how we know Him. Waiting takes our expectation off of other people placing it solely on the Lord. He waits for us to come to Him. Everyday God the forever reigning Creator of the Universe waits for me. He has great things for my life that only require me coming closer to Him. Wow! Blows my mind every single time.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (MSG)

Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

 

To wait on God is our choice. It is a privilege to be able to surrender our life to God despite our once sinful condition that too often is overlooked and taken for granted. Our inability to accept the matchless grace that makes us flawless before God makes us sulk back in the shadows rather than coming boldly to His Throne. We have total access to all that God is and everything He has promised. We need to hurry up and wait on God letting our faith keep us confidently attached to what the Lord is doing rather than fixated on the world around us. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? Do you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead after He paid for your sin with His Blood? Do you think that He is coming again to take you home? See if you believe these three things, then you my friend have something worth waiting for. God is definitely doing something in your life just because you believe. That is the only qualification for His Goodness every single day is to put our faith and trust in Him. He will do the rest! What are you waiting for today? In Jesus Name, I encourage you to wait on the Lord. I ask Him to fill you with new strength as you do!

Isaiah 35:3-4 (MSG)
Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees.
Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right
and redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”

Am I Listening? – A Devotion

Am I Listening

Daniel 1:17 (NLT)

God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.

 

For many people, today marks the end of their 2015 Daniel Fast. Churches have embraced this Biblical concept corporately and believers individually to enter the brand new year with clear vision and revelation from the Lord. Daniel and his friends fasted for ten days eating only vegetables and abstaining from the royal menu. At the end of their fast, it was clear that the Lord had kept them as they were healthier than before. (Daniel 1:8-16) It is important to note here in reading this passage that their “fast” was to test their spiritual diet prescribed by Jewish law. They did not eat the same things that the king feasted on regularly. The fast was to prove to the king’s attendant that they would thrive this way bringing no ill will to their caregiver by the kind. Fasting is a life style. There are times when we may abstain from things for a given amount of time to seek greater understanding and remove the distractions that keep us from hearing the Lord’s Voice and Direction for our life. For many years, we have fasted as a family. Over this time, my diet has dramatically changed for the better. It seems that each year something I gave up for the fast no longer appealed to me so I never started eating or drinking it again. I believe that’s what fasting is really about consecrating more and more of our life to the Lord until we are complete lacking no good thing that He has prepared for us. At the end of his fast, the attendant agreed that the men were doing well so Daniel and his friends were allowed to continue eating only the things allowed according to the Law. The very next verse after this account is Daniel 1:17. God gave these men “unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect” of nature things and a “special ability to interpret the meanings” of spiritual things. Clarity. Perspective. Balance.

Do you hear the Voice of God today speaking to your heart and mind? God is always speaking to us whether we are listening or not. He responds to every inquiry and request on the part of His Beloved Children. He hears our cries and answers our call. It is important to be listening with our heart and our head to what the Lord tells us and doing it because this is how we receive His Promises. Fasting our life is putting away the world to let more of His Spirit take over our life. This year, I did not fast food. Truthfully, I prefer Daniel’s diet on a daily basis. It is like my husband fasting broccoli which he hates. Instead, the Lord has been speaking to me about simplifying my life. Reducing the clutter that keeps me from seeing how blessed and prosperous I already am. For the month of January, I did not buy anything new. I did not go on the routine shopping/browsing/looking/buying-stuff-we-don’t-need-but-is-on-sale with my girls that is the equivalent to guys going hunting. Instead, I cleaned out every nook and cranny of our home and began unloading the overwhelming and embarrassing amount of “stuff” that crammed in every closet. We did not do without in the slightest but I have discovered we have more than enough. We can share with others and are still bursting at the seams. My goal is to be content. Peace and joy are both qualities found in contentment and thankfulness reveals all the things we overlook in our need to acquire more. I am convinced that God has already all that we need to be blessed and even share with others but we just haven’t noticed.

Habakkuk 2:1-4 (Message)  

What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst. I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says, how he’ll answer my complaint. And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time. “Look at that man, bloated by self-importance—full of himself but soul-empty. But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive.

 

If you know me, you are probably thinking that the fast I have chosen is no more than a budget to offset the years of cancer-fighting with our son and the recent wedding of our daughter. You are free to assume whatever you like. God has provided more than enough for our family to live through all these life changes without missing a beat. It’s just crazy how good God is. But I want more out of life than to pay bills and trudge back and forth to work every day. I want to be alive…fully alive…really alive. I have been a long-time fan of the watchman on the wall, and guard in the guard post of this chapter in Habakkuk. I believe that if I live in the watchtower of God always waiting and watching for Him that He will come. When the time is right and His Plan ready for fulfillment – that’s when He gets there. I have learned to wait and continue to do so. We ask God to do a lot for us. We ask Him why things happen in our life.  We demand answers. We request change. But do we listen for His Response? You can’t hear the Voice of God outside of His Spirit. You cannot be filled with His Spirit outside of believing. With disbelief in our heart, faith is a useless endeavor. God speaks to us in our waiting as He prepares us to move. The vision is clear to God. He wants to make it clear to you. It is ready to unfold but cannot until self is completely undone making room for His Spirit. He planned and prepared this life for you before you were ever born. It begins with desire in our heart that is consistent with the dreams and visions that the Lord gives us. Right standing with God is the platform in the watchtower. Faith is the rail that keeps us safe from falling over the edge. The Spirit is the magnifier that lets us see past today and look to the new horizon of tomorrow. Full of self, but an empty soul. It is one of my greatest fears. To somehow make this life about me, forgetting it is all about Jesus.

Joel 8:28-29 (NLT)

“Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.”

 

“I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.” Why does the Holy Spirit freak so many people out? I mean seriously. Without His Spirit, you will never know or understand the Heart of God. He is the very essence of God in us. He is not a silent partner. We are to become the quiet ones as we allow His Spirit to mold and change us from the inside out. God said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy.” God also said that His People literally will die from a lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6) Ignorance is not bliss and definitely not an excuse to live whatever way you want. God does not force us to listen to His Voice or do what He says. We are free to choose. A lack of spiritual maturity in the church today is heartbreaking. The Word of God is the fundamental foundation of our faith. People want to skip ahead to the good part. Cut in line, if you will, to get what is coming to them. Deep breath followed by longing sigh. The Spirit of God speaks to us. He expresses the Way and Will of God through dreams and visions. If we do not know God’s Language (His Word) and are not open to interpretation by His Spirit, we will never receive all that God has planned and prepared to complete and perfect out life. The Holy Spirit is an active partner and absolutely essential to having the Will and Way of God in our life. He identifies us as God’s Children. He is the guarantee of what we have been promised. We must receive an introduction to the Spirit of God and make Him welcome in our life. Call on God. Call on Jesus, but friend please add His Spirit to that list.

I Corinthians 2:10-13 (NLT)

 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.

 

God reveals His Secrets by His Spirit. The Spirit searches our heart and life to reveal the areas that need review to prepare for receivership. His Job is to make us ready to receive all God planned and prepared for our life. Imagine that you were running late and found that your car had a flat tire, you fill it with air and try to make it to the local garage. Upon your arrival, it’s flat again. The mechanic tells you that there must be a whole it in so he fills it with air again. This time running water from a garden hose over it. Now how is that going to fix the problem and why am I paying him big bucks for this just fix it, right?! As the water runs over the tire, a small bubbling occurs in the midst of the tread. Aha! Found it. He fixes the whole refills the tire and now rather than making around the corner – you are able to make it back and forth to work. This is the work of God’s Spirit in our life. We are filled with His Spirit. (Pnuema – wind, spirit, breath of God) There are times when we cannot contain the Goodness of God in our life. We go flat. God keeps filling us with His Spirit and washes us in His Word revealing the “holes” in our life. Now whether or not we choose to “fix” them or not is totally up to us according to our freedom found in Christ. We do not have to use our freedom to have the Promises of God unless we decide that we want them enough to pursue them. Our life is a process of continually chasing the Plan and Purpose of God for our life that leads to complete perfection and fulfillment. We have to allow His Spirit to explain His Word, Will and Way to us. He cannot explain what He has not been given. When we cultivate God’s Spirit and His Word in our life, we begin to speak words of life. It is in this we prosper. Fasting our life is the process of undoing that shows us the areas of our life that we have yet to surrender giving us the opportunity and privilege to give God, Jesus and His Spirit just a little more and a little more until we are completely undone before Him. It is in this place that we are granted our heart’s desire. We find contentment. We live in the joy and peace that He promised no matter how it seems in the natural. I want to be in this place. I want this life. It is a simple life. It is a God life. I want an unusual aptitude for the natural like Daniel and his friends. I desire the dreams and visions customarily used by the Spirit to share with me God’s Secrets. I want to know Him more today. I will find more to give to have Him.

John 3:30 (NLT) He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

Here Comes the Sun – A Devotion

Here Comes the Sun

Psalm 84:10-12 (NLT)
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.

 

Arriving in “sunny” south Florida for a conference, it was disappointing to encounter more overcast cold weather. Hopeful that when we arrived, the sun would be shining providing a little warmth in the midst of unusually cold weather for our state. Granted that during these events there is seldom enough time to enjoy the lush resorts where they take place, it is still quite nice to get a quick walk in here and there to bask in the tropical breeze and soak in the unprecedented light. People travel from all over the world to encounter the sunshine and beaches of Florida. However, the superstar of the South had been hiding behind clouds and cold winds for the last couple of days. Why is it so depressing when the sun doesn’t shine? Most of the time, people are so wrapped up in busy schedules and daunting routines, what does it matter that the sun does not shine outside when it would not be seen anyway other than through a filtered window or a shadow somewhere? Sitting in the conference room listening to the speaker who was now thirty minutes over his allotted time, his words just seemed to drone on and on. The palm trees behind him caught my attention swaying in the wind and I saw it. The light of the sun was out which meant behind me the sun was shining somewhere over the water. Longing to be set free, I hurried to my hotel room to see the sun before it set for the day. Throwing open the curtains and then the doors, I could feel the sunshine overtake me. There over the water shining and reflecting glorious light hung the sun as it slowly began its evening decent. Breathtaking and beautiful I closed my eyes and willed my mind, soul and body to soak it up before it was gone for the night. It made me smile. I felt refreshed and revitalized in that moment. All because I saw the sun. My friend and coworker stopped by so we could go to dinner, I pulled her out on the balcony as well. After some goading, she stopped to watch the sunset with me. At first, she didn’t see the point until she felt the warmth of the light and the tickling of her senses, too. The sun rises and sets every single day taken for granted in its effort. But when it doesn’t shine, we look for it. I knew that the Lord was speaking to me in that sunset so I decided to look for Him.

Did you know that sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D in our body? We need sunlight for healthy bones among many other benefits that come from this necessity in our physical being. Sunlight also is a natural antidepressant that promotes the production of serotonin in the brain. Long periods of darkness or ever overcast weather is proven to cause depression in many people, so it is scientifically proven that human beings need sunlight physically and mentally. So what about spiritually? God is our sun and shield who gives us grace and glory. We need to live in the Light of His Love to be spiritually healthy as well. Those who live by His Grace in His Glory will be filled with inexpressible joy and indescribable peace that comes from an unseen source. When we stand in the sunlight, we do not try to produce Vitamin D. It just naturally occurs benefiting our body. Serotonin automatically is made in our brain without a second thought. I believe that if we as believers spent more time in the Light that we would begin to experience a change in our life internally that would change the external outcomes in our life. We must look for the Light.

Psalm 37:3-7 (NLT)

Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

When I stayed with our son during his recent bone marrow transplant, it entailed almost two months in the hospital with him. I literally slept on a foldout bed in the same room with him. Each morning I would open the blinds in his room to allow light to filter in. He could not go outside for the length of his stay. But on many occasions, when missing the rest of our family or feeling isolated would begin to weigh me down, I would walk outside for a few minutes and soak in the sunshine literally. I didn’t “do” anything except find a bench and sit there for a bit. When I went back inside, I could feel the heat radiating from my skin. I instantly felt better. During that time, I could not engage in my daily routine. My schedule came to a standstill with my primary focus caring for our son which most of the time (thanks to great medicine) meant watching him sleep. In the quiet of those moments, I would seek the Lord’s Presence and sit with Him. How many times a day do you sit in the Presence of the Lord? Do you ever just bask in His Glory? Do you just absorb His Grace and the magnitude of His Love? If we looked at God for who He is I think we would see that He is more powerful than the rays of the sun? He is more majestic than a sunrise or sunset. His Love radiates a warmth that is felt in our innermost being touching our heart and healing our lives. But we miss it in the busyness of life. I will preface this statement with the obvious, I don’t ever want my son to undergo a hospital stay again. But during his previous stay, I have never felt closer to the Lord. In my isolation from the world and all its distractions, I was able to simply bask in His Glory and Grace.

Trust in the Lord. Do Good. Take delight in the Lord. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him. Be still. Wait patiently. Don’t worry. Can you imagine a life based solely on these qualities? I would love to live this life every day. I believe this is the life that the Lord has designed for me in its basic simplicity. Just as I do not have to make Vitamin D or serotonin as it occurs naturally in my body, the Lord invites me to bask in the Son and He will do the same process in my soul. He will produce the joy and peace that I need by His Glory and Grace. We try so hard to make a good life and build comforts through security. The Lord promises that if we will just learn to live in His Presence that He will gives us safety and prosperity. He will give us the desires of our heart. He will help us. He will make our innocence radiate. Our justice is served in Jesus Christ. We do not have to worry, fret or stress over life or the details of it. People are not our problem. We just need to get in the Presence of God and be still for a minute to encounter His Glory and Grace.

Psalm 19:1-6 (NLT)

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.

 

The heavens radiate the Glory of God. The natural sun is a reflection of the Son that is our soon and coming King. The absence of sunshine in our life is like trying to live outside of the Glory of God. A believer cannot maintain their righteousness outside of His Grace. We need His Glory in our life to supernaturally produce the fruits that His Spirit cultivates in us. (Galatians 5:22-23) During seasons of darkness, we must learn to pursue the Light. It is found in the resources of His Word and His Spirit but sometimes on those days when we just can break through the oppression of life – we need to just get in His Presence and sit there. He will come and break through the clouds of darkness and despair flooding your heart and mind with the Light of His Love. But you have to make the commitment to wait until He comes. He doesn’t just shine through our bondage, pain or trouble. But according to the Word of God, He promises to break ever yoke that binds us. He is smashing strongholds to get His Glory and Grace through to you. Be patient. Do not abandon your position of faith because the Son will soon break through the clouds of doubt and fear overshadowing your life if you remain committed to your stand. He will give you the hope that you desperately need to go forward even when the natural sun does not come out from hiding to help you. If you will just make it a point to seek out the Light of His Love found only in His Presence – you will have His Glory and Grace with all of its benefits. If the sun is shining, go sit in it. God has equipped your body to be rejuvenated and empowered by His Light. He made the sun. He gave it the power to connect with the human body and do its work. All the heavens proclaim the Glory of God including the sun. It is a reflection of His Son.

Revelation 22:1-5 (NLT)

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

There is coming a day when the sun will no longer shine. Its services no longer needed. The Light of His Love will shine brightly enough that we will never see another long night. Darkness will be gone forever along with every curse. We will live in His Glory forever. Understanding the natural effects of the sun will never be enough to prepare us for the Light that we will encounter in Heaven. We must learn to live in the Light of His Love every day to be prepared for what God has for us when Jesus comes back. Every day is the right time to bask in His Glory and Grace. We don’t have to wait until we are running on reserves but each day we can meet Him in the morning when His New Mercy arrives and ask for a fill up. His Spirit is with us always. In the midnight hour, we can call on His Light to illuminate us. In the dark times of life, He will be our Light and lead us out. Look for the Son today. Step into His Presence. Let the Lord revive, restore and renew you from the inside out. If you get a chance, catch the sunset tonight. Stop long enough to revel in the Glory of our God! It will be worth it, I promise. It is the moment that you realize, everything is going to be alright! Here comes the Son! Bask in His Glory today!

Job 37:21-24 (NLT)

We cannot look at the sun, for it shines brightly in the sky when the wind clears away the clouds. So also, golden splendor comes from the mountain of God. He is clothed in dazzling splendor. We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty; but even though he is just and righteous, he does not destroy us. No wonder people everywhere fear him. All who are wise show him reverence.